Arch of the Dean of Zaragoza

Arch of the Dean of Zaragoza
Arch of the Dean of Zaragoza

As a general rule, where there is a cathedral very close, there is an episcopal palace that serves as the bishop's residence and office for all his subordinates and personal service. This has been the case since the Middle Ages, when the bishops were very powerful and organized much of the political life of the cities.


Dean's Arch in Zaragoza

But the episcopal palaces were not the only outstanding constructions built by the religious curia around the great temples. A good example can be found in Zaragoza, where the one known as Casa del Deán and especially the Arco del Deán that since it was built in the 13th century has joined the head of the cathedral of San Salvador with the home of this important religious position.

After all, the dean ranks second in the hierarchy of cathedral positions. Above him is only the bishop, or in the case of Zaragoza the Archbishop, since this position exists in this Spanish city as there are two cathedrals: the aforementioned Cathedral of El Salvador and the Basilica of Our Lady of Pilar.

The fact is that the dean was in charge of the internal functioning of the temple, he had to supervise everything that happened in the cathedral, hence his house is usually very close. But it is said that the first dean of Zaragoza was a particularly sullen and arrogant guy, and he didbuild this arch in the 13th century so as not to have to step on the same ground as the parishioners and the common people.

So far it's not unusual, since there are many other cases of similar constructions, even much larger, such as the famous Vasarian Corridor in Florence that unites neither more nor less than the Ufizzi Gallery with the Palacio Pitti, all properties of the Medicisthat they had this flyover built that crosses over the Ponte Vecchio itself, so that they wouldn't have to cross with the Florentine people.

Without a doubt the Arco del Deán de Zaragoza is a less grandiose construction than the famous bridge in Florence. But it also has its interest. For two reasons. The first for the legend that surrounded its construction. Since it is said that the Dean did not have the support of the rest of the religious positions to carry out this work, so he resorted to a pact with the devil to help him. And the evil one agreed, but in exchange for being able to keep the souls of all those unwary people who passed under the arch.

And on the other hand, already in the artistic field, the Dean's Arch has a really beautiful window, made later in the 16th century. A mullioned window on the brick of Gothic invoice and that creates a gallery that looks out to the outside, and in which elements of the ornamentation of two exclusively Hispanic styles are fused at the same time: the mudéjarand the plateresque.

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